No i hope no one sees this as a political thread cause its not and not intended to be anything but some info. If it offends anyone let me know and i will remove it.
Just a friend sharing an observation. I wanted to make an observation which some of you might might appreciate.
In this thread Rick posted about his Tractor Shed build we see how in a matter of days his whole shed was errected.
Most of you that live in these parts see this as normal and probably wonder what I am on about here.
Well in all the years i have exposed to and now living in North America I have been observing the incredible productivity that takes place in North America.
Its a tribute to the productivity of the worker(yup it includes everyone), of capital and technology. To me it is the differentiator that has created the high standard of living in enjoyed in this part of the world.
Back where i come from that tractor shed would have taken weeks to build. The holes would have been hand dug most likely due to the cost of capital involved in purchasing a powered auger and those cement pucks mixed by hand on site from sand and cement. Yup like Toni experiences in Europe tools and machinery are expensive for three reasons in a place like Africa.
1) The volume being purchased allows little buying power.
2) The cost of capital in good or bad times is at least 10- 12 % greater for a business than here. ( Current variable rate mortage interest rate in SA is 10.5%)
3) The currency is valued at such a significant discount that it leverages the purchase of an imported item such as a power auger to a multiple of at least 6 times its relative cost to the same person in North America.
What that results in is the use of much more low paying manual labor to get a job done in any sort of reasonable time and typically this level of labor has very little skill.
The result is the cost of the finished product is way higher and the wages lower resulting in a catch 22 of no means to improve standard of living regardless how hard these people work.
You cant be competeing with providing food for your family with a hoe versus a tractor and i dont mean fancy tractor. Then add the input cost of fuel at a leverage exchange rate and voila you are unproductive.
Then on the technology front ( i dont mean hi tech), due to the climate in North America we have an abundance of trees suitable for building structures that results in a building technology cost competitive with steel or the labor and material cost involved in brick. Yet brick or steel it would be cause the wood for building just aint there. In fact European man has damaged the water courses over time due to the planting of non indigenous forests of pine at the high elevations that make up the catchment area. Causing added hardship through lack of water.
Whilst we get great hardwood from Africa, resulting in the devestation of critical forests, this wood aint suitable at the prices for use in mass building due to demand (mostly great hardwoods) and so a building like this would have been most likely built in steel and further increased the cost.
I know this is not woodworking but just thought i would share some observations with you so that we never get complacent and take for granted the real benefits we have here and the productivity of the worker here as a result of it.
Example of cost of capital in the late nineties i had a reasonably small electronics business in SA (150 people)and was paying 26% for my business bank line of credit and that was a preferential rate cause i had the bank as a shareholder too. Consider how many businesses could survive here with that kind of cost of capital.
Pretty expensive to buy a pick and place machine at that time.
Strange thing that dont make sense is SA is one of the biggest gold producers in the world. Ah but we went off the gold standard to suite what???